A few years back, Netflix signed a deal with Epix, a cable channel co-owned by MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount to stream their catalog collection. A similar deal with Starz, who has exclusive Disney and Sony contracts, was also struck, but that deal expired and they shuffled over to Blockbuster’s streaming service, leaving Netflix out in the cold. It seems that loss has caused Netflix to get more aggressive, though.
One of the biggest complaints about Netflix has been the lack of major titles to stream while they’re still a hot property, and it’s a valid issue. The problem is that when a title is “hot,” still selling discs and enjoying good rental revenue, the studios — and the cable outlets they partner with — are reluctant to give up their cash cows that drive sales and subscriptions.
This may be about to change, as Netflix announces that they will be able to stream the two biggest movies of 2012, The Hunger Games and The Avengers (covered under Paramount’s distribution deal), a mere 90 days after their cable debuts.
Rumor has it that one of the things Netflix did to try to avoid losing Starz was to attempt to buy the channel. If Netflix is serious about getting deeper in with Epix, then it could indicate that they might be looking to make a move into linear cable again. Netflix has been fairly aggressive in commissioning new series, including the Kevin Spacey vehicle House of Cards, and new episodes of cult classic Arrested Development. These expensive shows could probably use a home in the traditional cable space as well. In addition, having a stake in the “real” cable world gives them a leg to stand on when Net Neutrality issues raise their ugly heads.
Will that happen? That probably depends on how receptive the other studios are to the whole idea, but it could also be the key that keeps Netflix from being crowded out of the online streaming industry they helped create.
Via: [Home Media Magazine]